Tag Archives: Duluth

The History of St. Scholastica in Duluth: The Beginning – by Thomas Landgren. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

The History of St. Scholastica in Duluth: The Beginning – by Thomas Landgren. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

From Professor Liang, NSR Editor-in-Chief: We sincerely thank the Monastery for sharing these treasured historic photos. We also thank Professor Heidi Johnson of the St. Scholastica Archives and St. Scholastica Library for the invaluable assistance and guidance for our student author. All rights to the photos belong to the Monastery, Archives, and College.

The Benedictine sisters originated from Rome but have seen many other places as their home. From Rome they traveled to England, then to Germany, and then to the United States (specifically Pennsylvania). The order of St. Benedict that later moved to Duluth in 1889 originated around St. Cloud, Minnesota.

1882 marked the move of some of the Benedictine sisters to Duluth, Minnesota. Leading them was Mother Scholastica Kerst, born Catherine Kerst in Prussia in 1847 her family moved to the United States when she was just five years old to the St. Paul region of Minnesota. Her father Peter Kerst had no trade, just business skills and his savings from his work in Prussia. Mother Scholastica started her journey with God in Shakopee, Minnesota but soon asked to be transferred to a monastery in Pennsylvania, but she was persuaded to go to St. Joseph, Minnesota. In 1880 after only three years at St Benedicts monastery in St. Joseph she became the Mother Superior which she held for nine years. Mother Scholastica expanded the community by creating hospitals in Bismarck, St. Cloud, and Duluth and she also helped build and taught at certain schools when she was the prioress.

When Mother Scholastica and her Sister Alexia both joined the Benedictine sisters in St. Joseph, their father gave the monastery a dowry of substantial size that allowed them to expand the community. Mother Scholastica was approached to help create the new diocese of Duluth by Bishop McGolrick who would always say “She built my diocese.” This was the driving force what would soon lead to a strong community of Benedictine sisters on the Great Lake. Mother Scholastica and her sister Alexia, after an argument with the St. Benedicts monastery that was soon resolved by the pope, took their dowry and headed to Duluth with 28 sisters (31 if you counted non-professed women).

Mother Scholastica got started right away renting the first St. Mary’s hospital from St. Johns Abbey in 1888, which was located in western side of Duluth. Ten years later they out grew the hospital and started to think of a better location that could reach more people, so they sold the old building to Anna Kerst, the mother of Scholastica and Alexia and turned the building into an orphanage and then later it was turned into St. Anne’s home for the elderly. The new hospital was built ten years after the start of the first hospital on 5th avenue East and 3rd Street and had additions added on to it from 1912 and the hospital is still adding more additions and newer buildings to their campus. St. Mary’s has quadrupled in size and has been helping the north land area since the first building in 1888.

The sisters were now working to establish a new school after the problems they faced with the first Sacred Heart. They began to rent out a building that can still be seen in Duluth today, Munger Terrace. Here the sisters lived and taught children after the first Sacred Heart school was discovered to be unlivable. At Munger Terrace the sisters decided to remain permanently at their mission in Duluth. While the sisters were living in Munger Terrace they received a generous donation of three lots by Peter and Anna Kerst to help them build a new school and a new permanent location for the sisters.

In 1894 the new Sacred Heart institute was completed. This prompted the sisters to move all operations from Munger Terrace to the brand new institution and cathedral. Seven years after the new school was opened they experienced a fire that occurred on New Year’s when everyone was located in the third floor chapel for mass. The fire damaged the basement, first floor, and even made it up to some of the second floor. This wouldn’t be the last fire to occur in this building. Sacred Heart institute started out with around only 20 students it soon reached over 100 students before it was eventually closed in 1909. Later on it was reopened in 1920 as St. Mary’s school of nursing, the building is still standing and has been converted into apartments.

Before Sacred Heart was even open, for ten years the sisters already outgrew the Sacred Heart institute. They soon paid a surveyor to find a plot of land that they could call their new home. The man came back with a daisy farm in the woodland area that seemed to fit the vision Mother Scholastica and the sisters had of their mission in Duluth. In 1899-1900 the first 80 acres were purchased and the sisters started to create their vision of a mother-house that could house both sisters and students. Over the next seven years the sisters bought 80 more acres. Construction began in 1907 and the first building was completed and occupied in 1909. The mother-house/school dawned the name Villa Sancta Scholastica. This was just the beginning of what this group of Benedictine Sisters would accomplish. (To be continued)

Thomas serves as an editor for The North Star Reports.

Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports — HLIANG (at) css.edu

See also, our Facebook page with curated news articles at http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports

The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy (http://NorthStarReports.org) is a student edited and student authored open access publication centered around the themes of global and historical connections. Our abiding philosophy is that those of us who are fortunate enough to receive an education and to travel our planet are ethically bound to share our knowledge with those who cannot afford to do so. Therefore, creating virtual and actual communities of learning between college and K-12 classes are integral to our mission. In three years we have published over 250 articles covering all habitable continents and a variety of topics ranging from history and politics, food and popular culture, to global inequities to complex identities. These articles are read by K-12 and college students. Our student editors and writers come from all parts of the campus, from Nursing to Biology, Physical Therapy to Business, and remarkably, many of our student editors and writers have long graduated from college. We also have writers and editors from other colleges and universities. In addition to our main site, we also curate a Facebook page dedicated to annotated news articles selected by our student editors (http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports). This is done by an all volunteer staff. We have a frugal cash budget, and we donate much of our time and talent to this project. The North Star Reports is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at: http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, The North Star Reports; Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal; Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica. Kathryn Marquis Hirsch, Managing Editor, The North Star Reports. Eleni Birhane and Matthew Breeze, Assistant Managing Editors, The North Star Reports.

(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org ISSN: 2377-908X The NSR is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, with generous support from The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact editor-in-chief Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu

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Hidden History – by Thomas Landgren. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

Hidden History – by Thomas Landgren. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

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Growing up in a house that is over 110 years old there are always projects going on. When summer rolls around it seems like we have a new project going on every week. Ever since the Duluth flood we have been working on fixing leaks in our basement. This summer we went around the outside of our house and dug a trench to help stop some of the areas that leak whenever there is a light drizzle we seem to have a leak. We got to work right away this summer. We found many little treasure like coins, silverware, and other miscellaneous trinkets. There was one treasure we found that really peaked all of our interests. It was an old glass milk bottle that sported the words “Woodland Dairy”. The milk bottle was in remarkable condition for being buried in a pile of rocks and old pieces of metal. We set it aside to take a further look at it when we finished the project.

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When we were done we went to work cleaning it up and trying to get all of the mud and grime off so that we could see all of the words that made up the “Label”. After a couple of hours of research we learned something new about a very popular place in Duluth. Hartley Nature Park is a very popular place in Duluth with the bike trails, hiking trails, and creeks many people love to go up there and experience the nice little slice of outdoors that is still close to the city. Before this popular place was turned into a park the land was split up into many different farms. Researching we came across that the park was a pine plantation and 50 acres made up a small dairy farm that consisted of 80-100 cows. This farm was named Woodland Dairy farm. The pasture was cleared for the farm in the late 1800’s and in 1924 Woodland Dairy stopped their operation never stating the cause for the cease of operations. It’s always interesting to learn something new about a place that my family and I have visited over a hundred times. Just remember history is all around us.

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Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports — HLIANG (at) css.edu

See also, our Facebook page with curated news articles at http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports

The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy (http://NorthStarReports.org) is a student edited and student authored open access publication centered around the themes of global and historical connections. Our abiding philosophy is that those of us who are fortunate enough to receive an education and to travel our planet are ethically bound to share our knowledge with those who cannot afford to do so. Therefore, creating virtual and actual communities of learning between college and K-12 classes are integral to our mission. In three years we have published over 250 articles covering all habitable continents and a variety of topics ranging from history and politics, food and popular culture, to global inequities to complex identities. These articles are read by K-12 and college students. Our student editors and writers come from all parts of the campus, from Nursing to Biology, Physical Therapy to Business, and remarkably, many of our student editors and writers have long graduated from college. We also have writers and editors from other colleges and universities. In addition to our main site, we also curate a Facebook page dedicated to annotated news articles selected by our student editors (http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports). This is done by an all volunteer staff. We have a frugal cash budget, and we donate much of our time and talent to this project. The North Star Reports is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at: http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, The North Star Reports; Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal; Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica. Kathryn Marquis Hirsch, Managing Editor, The North Star Reports.

(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org ISSN: 2377-908X The NSR is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, with generous support from The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact editor-in-chief Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu

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Iron Range, Minnesota – Home on the Range – by Molly Enich. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

Iron Range, Minnesota – Home on the Range – by Molly Enich. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

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[First picture: Chisholm High School, built 1912]

“Cabin country” is what people from the Twin Cities refer to the area north of Duluth as. However, this isn’t cabin country to me. It’s where I was born and raised. The Iron Range is a streak of iron ore-rich land that stretches 110 miles from Grand Rapids to Ely. More than twenty small towns with an average population of 3,000 people each are strung along the line of ore that is mined for steel. The red dirt and scarred land from more than 100 years of open-pit ore mining are telltale signs you are on the Iron Range.

Iron ore, which is the raw material for steel, was discovered on the Iron Range in the late 1800’s. The area was first mined underground, but then transitioned to open-pit mining in the early 1900’s. Years of open pit mining have created towering piles of rejected iron ore and huge “pits” that are now filled with water.

The Iron Range’s mining industry has always been globally connected. The area was the main producer of ore that was shipped to steel mills throughout both world wars. Between 1941 and 1945, the Iron Range produced 338 million tons of ore, which accounted for 90% of the nation’s output. The area grew to its fullest capacity during the war, but when it ended, the region started its slow decline. The high grade iron ore supply was finally depleting after nearly 100 years of steady mining, so the mines switched to mining a lower grade ore called taconite. With only 6 remaining mines on the Range today, the area still produces 50% of the nation’s ore. However, the mining industry is vulnerable to national and global economic cycles.

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[Second Picture: Downtown Chisholm where nearly 1/3rd of the buildings are empty]

National and global demands for iron ore cause cycles of boom and bust on the Iron Range. Because the mining industry dominates the local economy, every business is affected by the mines highs and lows. If production in the mines is increased, the whole economy receives a boost and businesses flourish. However, if the mines lay off their workers, local grocery stores, shops, and businesses feel the effects as well. Because the mines have been in a steady decline for over 15 years, downtown businesses have closed leaving the main streets of towns nearly empty.

With few opportunities for jobs that aren’t involved with the mining industry, many people move to larger cities in search of more opportunities. Since 1982, the population has declined by nearly 20,000 people. Empty houses, streets, and storefronts make some towns feel abandoned. There are also more young people moving away from the Iron Range, which has caused class sizes at local schools to decline by 60%.

I graduated from Chisholm High School in 2014 with a class of 38 people. I knew everyone’s middle name, their dog’s name, and what their hobbies were. Although we were a very small school, it was fun to know everyone as well as I did. The teachers I had throughout high school were some of the same ones that taught my parents. Even while I was in class, there was no forgetting what the local industry was. Every Wednesday at 11:30, our 100-year-old school would rumble and shake from the aftershocks of the nearby mine’s blasting the ground to expose more iron ore.

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[Third Picture: Pillsbury mine pit near Chisholm]

Even though the Iron Range is in a state of steady economic and population decline, it was a great place to grow up. It has a small town feel where everyone knows your last name or who your grandparents are. It’s a land full of hundreds of lakes and acres of untouched forests that comes to life in the summer with tourists and cabin-goers. The Iron Range is home to many diverse people, but they all share a connection to the region’s mining culture.

Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports — HLIANG (at) css.edu

See also, our Facebook page with curated news articles at http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports

The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy (http://NorthStarReports.org) is a student edited and student authored open access publication centered around the themes of global and historical connections. Our abiding philosophy is that those of us who are fortunate enough to receive an education and to travel our planet are ethically bound to share our knowledge with those who cannot afford to do so. Therefore, creating virtual and actual communities of learning between college and K-12 classes are integral to our mission. In five semesters we have published 200 articles covering all habitable continents and a variety of topics ranging from history and politics, food and popular culture, to global inequities to complex identities. These articles are read by K-12 and college students. Our student editors and writers come from all parts of the campus, from Nursing to Biology, Physical Therapy to Business, and remarkably, many of our student editors and writers have long graduated from college. We also have writers and editors from other colleges and universities. In addition to our main site, we also curate a Facebook page dedicated to annotated news articles selected by our student editors (http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports). This is done by an all volunteer staff. We have a frugal cash budget, and we donate much of our time and talent to this project. We are sponsored by St. Scholastica’s Department of History and Politics and by the scholarly Middle Ground Journal: World History and Global Studies (http://theMiddleGroundJournal.org).

For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at: http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, The North Star Reports; Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal; Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica.

Kathryn Marquis Hirsch, Managing Editor, The North Star Reports.

(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org ISSN: 2377-908X The NSR is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact editor-in-chief Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu

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“Don’t Cry for Me, Minnesota”: A Farewell to My Home State – by Marin Ekstrom. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

“Don’t Cry for Me, Minnesota”: A Farewell to My Home State – by Marin Ekstrom. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

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My college graduation coincided with the exciting news that I received a teaching assistantship in Zhuhai, China, for the 2015-2016 academic year. I was not only happy to actually have employment (at least in the short-term), but I looked forward to living and working abroad and learning more about Zhuhai, the Guangdong Province, and China as a whole.

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However, this sense of excitement has a flipside: given that I will be in Zhuhai for ten months, it made me reevaluate my love for my own “homeland”: Minnesota, USA. Strangely enough, I’ve always been a bit ambivalent about embracing my American identity. I admire many aspects of the USA, such as its can-do pioneering spirit, and try to realize the freedoms and privileges that I received (and receive) solely based on my American citizenship. However, due to the USA’s controversial history (especially its maltreatment of Native Americans, African Americans, and other frequently marginalized groups) and stereotypes that emphasize “American exceptionalism”, I am sometimes wary of being considered an arrogant, ignorant, and hypocritical person due to my nationality.

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My relationship with my home state, Minnesota, is much more loving and uncomplicated than the one with my home country. I feel that, for better or for worse, Minnesota is often portrayed as a much more polite, modest, hard-working, and friendlier microcosm of the USA. Since I feel that these traits better reflect my personality, and I have noticed that many of my family, friends, and coworkers possess these characteristics as well, I am much more accepting towards my Minnesotan-ness. Furthermore, my upbringing and life experiences highlighted the beauty of life in Minnesota. In school, we learned about the rich indigenous cultures and traditions of the Dakota and Ojibwe. My own family heritage consists of Swedish, Norwegian, and Finnish immigrants who came to Minnesota and toiled hard to build better lives for themselves; these groups, and others, have made Minnesota an intriguing blend of cultural diversity. I grew up surrounded by lush pine forests, rocky cliffs, and the sparkling blue waters of Minnesota’s 10,000 lakes and lived to the rhythm of trains and ore carriers hauling off iron ore on Lake Superior. For these reasons and so many more, I recognize how much Minnesota has shaped my personality, values, and overall being, and this has given me a deep love for my home state.

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Despite my Minnesotan patriotism, I’ve also been born with a great sense of curiosity and interest in other cultures and sense of wanderlust. Thus, I feel that it is time to move on and explore the rest of our great big Earth. As I approach my Zhuhai journey and the opportunity to adopt a Guangdong-ian/ Chinese spirit, it feels a tad bittersweet to leave behind my dear state. I will miss Minnesota and everything that I associate with it: agates, Judy Garland, Prince, Trampled By Turtles, Peanuts, highly literate cities, the Aerial Lift Bridge, Split Rock Lighthouse, Paul Bunyan, Babe the Blue Ox, the world’s largest ball of twine, wild rice, lefse, injera…the list goes on and on (though I won’t miss its long, Arctic winters). However, I will find new opportunities and passions in Zhuhai, China, and beyond, and while I will always be a Minnesotan at heart, I can’t wait to see how these traveling experiences contribute to the mosaic of my personality.

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Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports — HLIANG (at) css.edu

See also, our Facebook page with curated news articles at http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports

The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy (http://NorthStarReports.org) is a student edited and student authored open access publication centered around the themes of global and historical connections. Our abiding philosophy is that those of us who are fortunate enough to receive an education and to travel our planet are ethically bound to share our knowledge with those who cannot afford to do so. Therefore, creating virtual and actual communities of learning between college and K-12 classes are integral to our mission. In five semesters we have published 200 articles covering all habitable continents and a variety of topics ranging from history and politics, food and popular culture, to global inequities to complex identities. These articles are read by K-12 and college students. Our student editors and writers come from all parts of the campus, from Nursing to Biology, Physical Therapy to Business, and remarkably, many of our student editors and writers have long graduated from college. We also have writers and editors from other colleges and universities. In addition to our main site, we also curate a Facebook page dedicated to annotated news articles selected by our student editors (http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports). This is done by an all volunteer staff. We have a frugal cash budget, and we donate much of our time and talent to this project. We are sponsored by St. Scholastica’s Department of History and Politics and by the scholarly Middle Ground Journal: World History and Global Studies (http://theMiddleGroundJournal.org).

For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at: http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, The North Star Reports; Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal; Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica.

Kathryn Marquis Hirsch, Managing Editor, The North Star Reports.

(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org ISSN: 2377-908X The NSR is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact editor-in-chief Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu

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Learning a New Language — The North Star Reports – by Kathryn Marquis Hirsch. Sponsored by The College of St. Scholastica and The Middle Ground Journal

Learning a New Language — The North Star Reports – by Kathryn Marquis Hirsch. Sponsored by The College of St. Scholastica and The Middle Ground Journal

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[Photo 1: Russian State Library– largest in the nation and 4th largest in the world. The statue out front is of Dostoevsky.]

Editor’s Note: We are pleased to note that this is our 200th article. A remarkable feat for an all volunteer staff of dedicated student editors and writers. Professor Liang.

As countless many have expressed before, learning other languages not only allows one to converse with more people, it also gives a deeper understanding of other cultures because so much is lost in translation. Spoken language expresses much more than simply noun, verb, tense, and other elements which can be easily translated. (This is why excellent human translators are essential and cannot be replaced by software. Idiomatic speech, nuance, and situational context are largely lost on computers.) To respect the whole of another person or people requires an attempt to understand these elements of language that are less obvious but not insignificant.

In college, I had one professor who insisted that all thoughts are framed in language. All thoughts. Period. Many of my fellow students nodded in ready agreement, or perhaps in the hope our professor would move on, but he would have had better luck convincing a wall than me because I know from my own personal experience as well as from discussions with many others that this is just not true. Some of the thoughts, feelings, and dreams that defy words’ constraints are not only failed by my native English, but are outside of the framework of language. Others, however, are the sort of concepts that “words cannot express,” though it seems like it should be possible if only I could find the right words. One of the great pleasures of learning other languages has been finding such words and terms.

My resistance to my professor’s declaration aside, I do not dispute that languages reflect and influence ways of thinking in an endless circle– this is why they provide an invaluable window into the deeper culture of a people. Certainly my own thoughts have been shaped by English. But a wonderful benefit of learning other languages has been gaining new ways of structuring ideas. From time to time I will learn a concept that exists in Russian or Korean that is so delightfully apt, so perfect, that I wish it existed in English but as it stands it would require paragraphs of explanation or just does not exist at all. It was only possible for me to learn them incrementally, learning vocabulary and grammar and cultural context until I could think in the right steps to lead all the way there.

I do not mean to be a show-off by touting the wondrous expansion of my mind through foreign language study; I imagine those who have lived their entire lives multilingual would find my observations trite. This desire to find the right word is behind the adoption of foreign words found in almost every widely spoken language, and it seems these words or terms are often learned and incorporated rather than translated because they are so suitable just the way they are. Larger concepts are similarly easy to learn and incorporate into one’s thinking, given the foundation to do so. However, I don’t want to minimize the amount of work that I have put into studying other languages, because it does require dedicating one’s effort and time, and I have felt overwhelmed for moments at every stage. People seem to forget what they went through and often ignore what can be observed in young children: learning a language takes years and years of constant work and daily tutoring from every older person around you. It has often been frustrating and humbling, but in spite of starting in my thirties (well past the point where I could hope a nice Russian or Korean couple would adopt me and immerse me in their language), I have been able to progress and I am convinced that this is possible and worthwhile for anyone who wants to learn.

My practical advice would be to mix methods of learning rather than trying to do a strict regimen of only immersion or textbook study. Starting out when you’re older (not a baby), you won’t have time to go through another childhood of learning first to understand then speak then read, and being able to read facilitates the self-study that real progress will require. I’ve found it’s best to take an analytical approach, examining existing habits and ways of thinking about language and comparing these to the language being learned. For example, I think many people whose first language is English are intimidated by the concepts of formal and familiar speech or of masculine and feminine words. But actually, this isn’t entirely foreign to native English speakers. In English, even for a singular “you,” we use “you are” and “you were” instead of the “you is” or “you was” that would fit the overall structure of English. This is counterintuitive and something that native speakers often take some time to pick up on, but by the time we’re older, most of us don’t even realize how irregular it is. Among English speakers, saying “you is” is a common mistake, usually made until the speaker acquires the habit of using plural forms for “you” after of hearing and reading the proper usage. But it’s such a logical mistake to make that no one should beat themselves up over it.

Once you begin to study a different language, it’s not only interesting to see how other languages address these sorts of questions in their system, but also to gain a new perspective on what we do in English and how it works together. I was struck at first by how in Korean, each concept is a root word that is then conjugated into a noun, verb, adverb, or adjective simply by use of the appropriate suffix. It’s really neat and efficient and makes learning vocabulary somewhat easier (in a way). It eventually dawned on me, however, that this isn’t really all that different from what we do in English. Take the word “red” for example- it’s an adjective, right? But in Korean, it would be listed in the dictionary in a form that is at once adjective and noun. “Red” the color: noun. “Red” the attribute: adjective. But in English, it is the same! What does it mean if the apple is red? It exists in a red way. It is in a red state of being. Things can be reddened, or they can redden of their own accord. (Realizations like this please me far too much.)

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[Photo 2: A lighting shop in Russia, has nothing to do with the U.S. president, but an interesting false cognate.]

This all goes back to the time and effort factors in learning a language, which would be hard to overstate. If you are a native English speaker like I am, unaccustomed to masculine/feminine/neutral, that’s okay– if your new language uses this concept, you’ll just learn it. Perhaps more important that dedicating time and energy is a willingness to make mistakes and even to make a fool of oneself from time to time with the inevitable misunderstandings and failures you will experience when it comes to actually using a new language. I accept that I will have to spend the rest of my life trying to improve in Russian and Korean, and that I will never master either language. This is also okay– few people ever do. Decades into daily use, I certainly can’t claim that my English is flawless. I will gladly admire the greatest writers and orators in each language along with everyone else.

Learning new languages is a rewarding and enjoyable show of respect. Of course, it would be impossible for any one person to become conversant, let alone fluent, in the language of every person they’ll ever want to interact with in their lifetime. And knowing another language is unlikely to result in some sort of magical meeting of minds; people who share a native tongue are not of a single mind. But it certainly goes a long way toward understanding, and where it falls short, the effort made demonstrates one’s recognition that others have intellectual value and a willingness and desire to connect.

Kathryn Marquis Hirsch serves as the Managing Editor of The North Star Reports and is a JD candidate at The university of Minnesota – Twin Cities Law School.

Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports — HLIANG (at) css.edu

See also, our Facebook page with curated news articles at http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports

The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, The College of St. Scholastica and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal’s online learning community and outreach program with undergraduate and K-12 classes around the world. For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at:

http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

The North Star Reports publishes edited essays from our students, particularly from those who are currently stationed, or will soon be stationed abroad. Students have reported from Mongolia, Southern China, Shanghai, Colombia, Norway, northeastern China, Nicaragua, Micronesia, The Netherlands, Tanzania, Ireland, El Salvador, England, Finland, Russia, Cyprus, and Haiti. We also publish student reviews of books, documentaries, and films, and analysis of current events from around the world. We will post their dispatches, and report on their interactions with the North Star Reports students and teachers. We thank The Department of History and Politics and the School of Arts and Letters of The College of St. Scholastica for their generous financial support for The North Star Reports and The Middle Ground Journal.

Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, The North Star Reports; Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal; Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica.

Kathryn Marquis Hirsch, Managing Editor, The North Star Reports.

(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org ISSN: 2377-908X The NSR is sponsored by The College of St. Scholastica and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact editor-in-chief Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu

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Review: The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden and its Connection to the Globe — The North Star Reports – by Samantha Roettger. Sponsored by The College of St. Scholastica and The Middle Ground Journal

Review: The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden and its Connection to the Globe — The North Star Reports – by Samantha Roettger. Sponsored by The College of St. Scholastica and The Middle Ground Journal

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Compared to other states, I would not consider Minnesota to be a place of lengthy history or diverse culture. However, the more I look into historical places within the state, the more I discover about its past. When visiting the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, I came across groups of people from other cultures all sharing a common joy of art or a common enjoyment of spending a beautiful summer’s day outdoors. I was very surprised to find how busy the garden was and how many different languages I heard. I listened to the voices of a Spanish-speaking family and heard young voices from an Asian culture. The photograph below shows the crowds that gathered to see the most famous piece of art work at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, the Spoonbridge and Cherry by Swedish born and American artist Claes Oldenburg. Diverse cultures gathered around the Spoonbridge and Cherry to experience its immense size and to take a picture with the iconic sculpture.

The main attraction of the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is of course the Spoonbridge and Cherry, but there are also just as beautiful works of art to be found amongst the garden. My favorite part about walking around and looking at the art was to stop and listen to what others thought and reacted to the same piece I was looking at. Prophecy of the Ancients by Brower Hatcher, the wire doom shaped piece seen below, got quite the conversation of human civilization flowing between two women. They were talking about the inventions stuck in the wire of the dome and of the constellations beyond.

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It was amazing to hear the intellectual conversations that came out around the art pieces but personally it was what the children said that introduced a whole new prospective on the art pieces. As a future teacher, I thrive for imagination and creativity from kids that offer a new analysis on life, history, and in this case, art. One child proclaimed that the Bronze Woman IV looked like Humpty Dumpty after he had fallen from the wall. This observation may seem childish and humorous but it adds a perspective on the shape of the sculpture. The gentle curves of the sculpture can be compared to a splattered yolk on the ground as if Humpty Dumpty just fell and broke his shell in front of a brick wall.

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Perspective-taking was another key feature of the Sculpture Garden. The art of the Sculpture Garden is meant to be more interactive than art found in a museum. The art can literally be looked at from any angle and can even be interactive in the sense that people can climb on the art, as seen below.

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One of my favorite pieces was called Double Curve by Ellsworth Kelly. I enjoyed this piece because from every angle the two massive curves changed shape. Some young women approached me and informed me that if I look directly up at the two curves one would look straight and the other bended. What I got out of this piece is that there is not one and only one perspective on anything whether it is art, music, movies, or life. Everyone has their own way of looking at things. My time at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden will never be the same as anyone else’s. I encourage anyone who wants to experience other cultures, look at art while taking a nice walk, or try something new to visit the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. It is a little piece of Minnesota that connects globally to the world.

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Samantha Roettger serves as a Social Media editor for The North Star Reports and is a student at The College of St. Scholastica.

Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports — HLIANG (at) css.edu

See also, our Facebook page with curated news articles at http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports

The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, The College of St. Scholastica and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal’s online learning community and outreach program with undergraduate and K-12 classes around the world. For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at:

http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

The North Star Reports publishes edited essays from our students, particularly from those who are currently stationed, or will soon be stationed abroad. Students have reported from Mongolia, Southern China, Shanghai, Colombia, Norway, northeastern China, Nicaragua, Micronesia, The Netherlands, Tanzania, Ireland, El Salvador, England, Finland, Russia, Cyprus, and Haiti. We also publish student reviews of books, documentaries, and films, and analysis of current events from around the world. We will post their dispatches, and report on their interactions with the North Star Reports students and teachers. We thank The Department of History and Politics and the School of Arts and Letters of The College of St. Scholastica for their generous financial support for The North Star Reports and The Middle Ground Journal.

Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, The North Star Reports; Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal; Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica.

Kathryn Marquis Hirsch, Managing Editor, The North Star Reports.

(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org ISSN: 2377-908X The NSR is sponsored by The College of St. Scholastica and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact editor-in-chief Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu

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Sister Cities of Duluth, Minnesota, Home of NSR — The North Star Reports – by Marin Ekstrom. Sponsored by The College of St. Scholastica and The Middle Ground Journal

Sister Cities of Duluth, Minnesota, Home of NSR — The North Star Reports – by Marin Ekstrom. Sponsored by The College of St. Scholastica and The Middle Ground Journal

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[Photo 1: Duluth’s Aerial Lift Bridge, by author]

Everyone has a connection to a certain city or community. Whether people have strong hometown roots or live a bit more nomadically, they often find some way to develop a sense of home and/or strong familiarity based on place. Furthermore, some people may feel deeply associated with a city or town that they do not reside in due to family and friend connections, vacations, media, etc. —even if they have not even visited it before! This sense of both individual identity and sense of community based on location fuels the mission of sister cities across the world. Sister cities strive to make global connections while cultivating their own sense of uniqueness, which fosters warmer international relations on a grassroots level while making the home community a more vibrant place that is more attractive to both locals and visitors.

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[Photo 2: Signs, by author]

First and foremost: what exactly is a sister city? According to the official website of Sister Cities International, it is defined as “a broad-based, long-term partnership between two communities in two countries.” Although the concept has centuries’ worth of precedents, the modern-day version (at least in terms of creating the official Sister Cities International organization) was officially established in 1956 by then-U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower. He believed in the power of citizen diplomacy, a concept that advocates for everyday people to forge bonds with other communities throughout the world. By forming these relations, Eisenhower “ reasoned that people of different cultures could celebrate and appreciate their differences and build partnerships that would lessen the chance of new conflicts”, as quoted from the “Mission and History” section of Sister Cities International’s website. This mentality had particularly poignant relevance given its historical context, as the prejudice and devastation of World War II was still fresh on people’s mind. The earliest sister city relationships particularly focused on Germany/ Western Europe and Japan, as they offered a means to establish human connections with the so-called (former) “enemy.” In turn, developing these friendships would work to heal the scars and take preventative measures from falling into such atrocious wars and human catastrophes again. Throughout the years, Sister Cities International has continued to evolve into a vibrant, groundbreaking organization that promotes the establishment of international ties based on student exchanges, professorial interactions, economic development, humanitarian interests, etc.— the sky is truly the limit.

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[Photo 3: Rania children, from DSCI]

Japanese Temple

[Photo 4: Japanese temple, from DSCI]

Our hometown community of Duluth, Minnesota, USA has the wonderful fortune of having a truly outstanding and internationally respected sister cities organization. Duluth Sister Cities International (DSCI) has been officially operating since 1986 (though it established its first sister relationship in 1980) and today has five sister cities consisting of Thunder Bay, Canada; Petrozavodsk, Russia; Växjö, Sweden; Ohara-Isumi City, Japan; and Rania, Iraqi Kurdistan. Each sister city relationship is characterized by their intriguing historical back-stories and wide array of projects and exchanges that they pursue. For example, there have been legal and human rights committees associated with Thunder Bay, social work and public health delegations with Petrozavodsk, choir concerts with Växjö, a middle school student exchange with Ohara-Isumi City, and planting a tulip garden in honor of Rania. DSCI also engages in annual concerts, dinners, holiday tree displays, and other festivities to perpetually draw attention to the organization’s work. DSCI has allowed our city to make deep bonds of friendship with Canadian, Russian, Swedish, Japanese, and Kurdish compatriots and in turn has enriched our own home community in the process. Perhaps DSCI says it best with the following quote on its website:

“Once you understand how we’re different, you see how we’re the same. True understanding between people and nations begins with individual involvement…

We [Duluth and the world] have greater opportunities than ever for global understanding, because Duluth Sister Cities International helps bridge the oceans by bringing many of the world’s traditions, cultures and languages right to us, and by taking us to their countries.”

Sister Cities International has paved the way for championing ground level “citizen diplomacy,” with Duluth being an exceptionally successful offshoot of this organization. Both Duluthians and our counterparts abroad have grown and bettered from the wonderful work of DSCI, making it a truly marvelous asset to our community and beyond.

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[Photo 5: Thunderbay, from DSCI]

If you are interested in learning more about Duluth Sister International and would like to get more involved, please visit the website at http://www.duluthmnsistercities.org/, and/or “Like” their Facebook page “Duluth Sister Cities International!”

Petro Cannons

[Photo 6: Petro Cannons, from DSCI]

Marin Ekstrom currently teaches in southern China, and serves as an assistant editor for The North Star Reports. Sincere thanks to DSCI for permission to adapt this piece and the photos for publication.

Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports — HLIANG (at) css.edu

See also, our Facebook page with curated news articles at http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports

The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, The College of St. Scholastica and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal’s online learning community and outreach program with undergraduate and K-12 classes around the world. For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at:

http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

The North Star Reports publishes edited essays from our students, particularly from those who are currently stationed, or will soon be stationed abroad. Students have reported from Mongolia, Southern China, Shanghai, Colombia, Norway, northeastern China, Nicaragua, Micronesia, The Netherlands, Tanzania, Ireland, El Salvador, England, Finland, Russia, Cyprus, and Haiti. We also publish student reviews of books, documentaries, and films, and analysis of current events from around the world. We will post their dispatches, and report on their interactions with the North Star Reports students and teachers. We thank The Department of History and Politics and the School of Arts and Letters of The College of St. Scholastica for their generous financial support for The North Star Reports and The Middle Ground Journal.

Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, The North Star Reports; Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal; Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica.

Kathryn Marquis Hirsch, Managing Editor, The North Star Reports.

(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org ISSN: 2377-908X The NSR is sponsored by The College of St. Scholastica and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact editor-in-chief Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu

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Morocco, Study Abroad — The North Star Reports – by Bao Vang. Sponsored by The College of St. Scholastica and The Middle Ground Journal

Morocco, Study Abroad — The North Star Reports – by Bao Vang. Sponsored by The College of St. Scholastica and The Middle Ground Journal

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[A shot I captured of the sunset in the desert]

Traveling the world is one of my favorite thing to do in life. I have traveled to multiple states in the U.S. and twice outside the U.S. In 2008, I was given the opportunity to travel to London for a club trip to observe the school system in London. Just recently, in December 2014, I traveled abroad to study the global business in Casablanca, Morocco with twenty students from The College of Saint Scholastica. My experience in Morocco has widened my interest on international business and how each country markets their business. During my study abroad time, I visited five major companies that were very successful in Morocco. Each company explained their main purpose as a company and how they market their business brand differently from competitors. I was also able to experience the Moroccan culture and food during my study abroad.

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[Photo of CSS students and me at the Sahara Coffee Plant in Casablanca, Morocco.]

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[Silos at Cargill in Casablanca, Morocco.]

One of my favorite company we visited was Cargill. If you don’t know, Cargill was founded in Minnesota and it’s headquarter is located in Wayzata, MN. We were given the chance to climb up the stairs in between the two big silos. The view from the top was breathtaking because you could see the whole city all at once. Furthermore, we were also able to witness all the process of how each station operated within the company to make it successful in Morocco.

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[Three CSS students and me posing in front the Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca, Morocco.]

Another amazing site we visited was one of the largest mosques in the world, the Hassan II Mosque. The mosque is located right by the Atlantic Ocean, which creates a nice breeze throughout the mosque. We were able to go on a tour inside the mosque to see the architecture design within the building. One of my favorite things about the mosque was the way in which the carpets were laid throughout the mosque. According to our tour guide, the carpets were some of the finest in morocco and very expensive.

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[Four performers on stage playing Moroccan music.]

We got to watch multiple performances one night; a band of four performed traditional Moroccan music while belly-dancers and a magician were on stage. One thing I want to point out in this photo is the design in the back wall. These beautiful designs were on many buildings in Morocco and most of the buildings have these designs throughout the walls and the ceiling. All the designs were always amazing to look at; the pattern goes together making your eyes move throughout the whole inner structure of the building.

Lastly, for the first time in my life, I was able to experience what it was like to ride a camel and sleep in the desert overnight. This was one of my most memorable experiences on the study abroad. It was a whole new experience but also an eye-opener to how Moroccans use their environment to make business. Instead of using typical camping tents, the tents in the desert were all made of thick carpets to form a tent-like-structure. Since the temperature gets really cold at night, the thick carpets help provide warm temperature within the tent.

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[A shot I captured of CSS students watching the sunrise in the desert]

This one of the last things I experienced before my study abroad in Moroccan ended. The sunrise was breathtaking and a beautiful sight to see. All in all, there were many other events in the study abroad that I experienced but these were the main highlights of it. My experience in Morocco not only opened my knowledge on the international business but it also allowed me to see the Moroccan culture and lifestyle.

Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports — HLIANG (at) css.edu

See also, our Facebook page with curated news articles at http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports

The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, The College of St. Scholastica and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal’s online learning community and outreach program with undergraduate and K-12 classes around the world. For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at:

http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

The North Star Reports publishes edited essays from our students, particularly from those who are currently stationed, or will soon be stationed abroad. Students have reported from Mongolia, Southern China, Shanghai, Norway, northeastern China, Micronesia, The Netherlands, Tanzania, Ireland, England, Finland, Russia, and Haiti. We also have students developing reviews of books, documentaries, and films, and analysis of current events from around the world. We will post their dispatches, and report on their interactions with the North Star Reports students and teachers. We thank The Department of History and Politics and the School of Arts and Letters of The College of St. Scholastica for their generous financial support for The North Star Reports and The Middle Ground Journal.

Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief, The North Star Reports; Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal; Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica.

Kathryn Marquis Hirsch, Managing Editor, The North Star Reports.

(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org ISSN: 2377-908X The NSR is sponsored by The College of St. Scholastica and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact editor-in-chief Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu

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Nicosia- The Last Divided Capital — The North Star Reports – by Karn Pederstuen. Sponsored by The College of St. Scholastica and The Middle Ground Journal

Nicosia- The Last Divided Capital — The North Star Reports – by Karn Pederstuen. Sponsored by The College of St. Scholastica and The Middle Ground Journal

This summer I had the opportunity to study abroad in Cyprus. For those who haven’t heard of this country, here are a few facts. Cyprus is the third largest island in the Mediterranean, has over 300 days of sunshine a year, and holds a rich cultural history. Although the majority of the island celebrates its Greek heritage, the northern section of the island has Turkish roots. During the majority of my two months in Cyprus, I stayed in the capital, Nicosia. Nicosia is the only divided capital city in the world. It is where those with Greek heritage and those with Turkish heritage are divided due to the Turkish invasion of 1974.

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[Above is a picture of the border between the North and the South including a booth with the United Nations flag. The booth is to be manned by the UN at all times.]
When I made the decision to study there, I did some research on the border called the Green Line that separates the country of Cyprus. I also read about the Turkish invasion, but it wasn’t until I actually got to Cyprus that I learned in depth about the invasion and its impact. At the beginning of my Cyprus trip, I took a tour of what was called the old city (the older and more historic area of Nicosia). During that tour, our guide told us about the invasion. The Turkish army invaded Cyprus causing many to lose their lives and northern Cypriots to flee to the south, abandoning their homes and all of their possessions. After the invasion, a border was put in place to separate the North and the South. It remained closed for some forty years until reopening in 2003.

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[The above picture is the Northern side of Cyprus taken just after crossing the line.]

During the tour of the old city, I had the opportunity to see the border of the Green Line as well as the United Nations buffer zone that separates Cyprus from the Turkish occupied area. Also in the old city is a border crossing zone where one can cross from Cyprus over to the Turkish side of the island. Although Turkey considers its position in Cyprus to be legitimate, the rest of the world considers it an illegal occupation. Therefore, when crossing over, one enters an illegal area. In this occupied area the laws of Cyprus and the help of the US embassy do not apply. Although the thought of entering this occupied area may seem a bit unnerving, I had the chance to cross over many times while in Cyprus.

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[We got to enter this Turkish mosque located in the Northern side of Nicosia.]

The first time a group of friends and I crossed the line we were all a bit unsure of what to expect. After all, it’s not every day that one passes through a United Nations buffer zone to enter an area illegally occupied by the Turkish army. We entered the North at the Ledra street crossing where we showed our passports on the Southern side, walked a few yards through the buffer zone, and then had our passports scanned again by the Northern officers. After learning about the invasion and being warned about even taking pictures in the military area, I was surprised by how relaxed the crossing was. The Turkish officers were very friendly and were even joking with us as we checked in and out. Once we successfully crossed the Green Line, we got to enjoy the best of both worlds so to speak. On the Turkish side of the island, we found great food, souvenirs, and sites. The North also uses Turkish Lira instead of the Euro, so purchases were less expensive. Although most of my summer was spent in Cyprus, crossing the Green Line gave me the benefit of taking a trip to “Turkey” in a few short minutes.

Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports — HLIANG (at) css.edu

See also, our Facebook page with curated news articles at http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports

The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, The College of St. Scholastica and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal’s online learning community and outreach program with undergraduate and K-12 classes around the world. For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at:

http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

The North Star Reports publishes edited essays from our students, particularly from those who are currently stationed, or will soon be stationed abroad. Students have reported from Mongolia, Southern China, Shanghai, Norway, northeastern China, Micronesia, The Netherlands, Tanzania, Ireland, England, Finland, Russia, and Haiti. We also have students developing reviews of books, documentaries, and films, and analysis of current events from around the world. We will post their dispatches, and report on their interactions with the North Star Reports students and teachers. We thank The Department of History and Politics and the School of Arts and Letters of The College of St. Scholastica for their generous financial support for The North Star Reports and The Middle Ground Journal.

Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief, The North Star Reports; Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal; Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica.

Kathryn Marquis Hirsch, Managing Editor, The North Star Reports.

(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org ISSN: 2377-908X The NSR is sponsored by The College of St. Scholastica and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact editor-in-chief Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu

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Petrozavodsk, The Republic of Karelia, Russia: An Introduction– The North Star Reports – by Marin Ekstrom. Sponsored by The College of St. Scholastica and The Middle Ground Journal

Petrozavodsk, The Republic of Karelia, Russia: An Introduction (Петрозаводск, Республика Карелии, Россия: Введение) – The North Star Reports – by Marin Ekstrom. Sponsored by The College of St. Scholastica and The Middle Ground Journal.

A Special Series from our Assistant Editor Marin Ekstrom

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[IMG_0362: The Republic of Karelia Music and Drama Theatre (notice the cheering golden statues from up high)]

Despite Russia’s vast geographic expanse, outsiders tend to think about the country in terms of just two cities: Moscow and St. Petersburg. Yet if one goes off the beaten track, he or she will discover that Russia has a plethora of intriguing, dynamic cities and communities with their own rich histories and cultures.

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[IMG_0369:Apartment complexes in the Kukkovka district (this picture coincides with the beginning of the White Nights)]

Petrozavodsk is one such example. It is located in the northwestern portion of Russia (north of St. Petersburg and close to the Finnish border) and is the de facto capital of the Republic of Karelia, a federal subject of Russia. Karelia is a stunningly beautiful area with dense pine and birch forests and thousands of lakes (including Lake Ladoga and Lake Onega, the two largest lakes in Europe), and also has heavy concentrations of mineral deposits. In fact, Petrozavodsk (or “Peter’s factory” in Russian) was established by Peter the Great in home 1703 to utilize these natural resources—and what began as a settlement at an iron and canon works plant has now evolved into the modern-day city of Petrozavodsk.

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[IMG_0409: A neoclassical KFC (that also used to be a movie theater and a dance club)]

Today, over 250,000 people call Petrozavodsk their home. The city is situated on the shores of Lake Onega forms a spellbinding blend of sophisticated neoclassical buildings, Soviet and modern architectural structures, and forest and greenery. Its industrial and economic performance continues to do well, as during the time of its foundation. However, Petrozavodsk has branched out in other ways to diversify its identity. The city’s many prestigious universities gives it a reputation as a vibrant university town, and its vast array of museums, theaters, festivals, and other institutions and events imbues it with a rich cultural life. It has a long history of cultural interaction with Finno-Ugric peoples (Finns, as well as indigenous Karelian and Vepsian groups), making the city an intriguing blend of dual Russo-Finnish cultural influence. For these reasons and countless more, Petrozavodsk is a unique and fascinating community that deserves much respect and recognition both in and outside of Russia.

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[IMG_0415: A giant granite monument to Lenin in downtown Petrozavodsk]

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[IMG_0337: The stunning wooden churches on the nearby Kizhi Island]

As stated earlier, Russia is an incredibly vast place, yet little is relatively known about it beyond Moscow and St. Petersburg. Yet once someone decides to venture outside of these two major hubs, he or she realizes that Russia is a much deeper and fascinating place than he or she could have ever imagined. Petrozavodsk is just one such standout community and not only a marvelous place to visit, but also a wonderful starting point to fully explore the dynamics and spirit of the Motherland (Родина).

For more information, see other links (i.e. maps):

Petrozavodsk in comparsion to the rest of Russia: http://www.worldatlas.com/img/locator/city/029/17329-petrozavodsk-locator-map.jpg

Petrozavodsk with Scandinavian/ former Karelia focus: https://www.awesomestories.com/images/user/6f56d2fd02.jpg


Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports — HLIANG (at) css.edu

See also, our Facebook page with curated news articles at http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports

The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, The College of St. Scholastica and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal’s online learning community and outreach program with undergraduate and K-12 classes around the world. For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at:

http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

The North Star Reports publishes edited essays from our students, particularly from those who are currently stationed, or will soon be stationed abroad. Students have reported from Mongolia, Southern China, Shanghai, Norway, northeastern China, Micronesia, The Netherlands, Tanzania, Ireland, England, Finland, Russia, and Haiti. We also have students developing reviews of books, documentaries, and films, and analysis of current events from around the world. We will post their dispatches, and report on their interactions with the North Star Reports students and teachers. We thank The Department of History and Politics and the School of Arts and Letters of The College of St. Scholastica for their generous financial support for The North Star Reports and The Middle Ground Journal.

Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief, The North Star Reports; Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal; Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica.
Kathryn Marquis Hirsch, Managing Editor, The North Star Reports.

(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org ISSN: 2377-908X The NSR is sponsored by The College of St. Scholastica and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact editor-in-chief Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu

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